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THE BEST OF THE ANIMALS
Original 1966 album liner notes
1. IT’S MY LIFE 3:09
Screen Gems-Columbia Music
2. GONNA SEND YOU BACK TO WALKER 2:20
(Matthews-J. Hammond, Jr.)
3. BRING IT ON HOME TO ME 2:40
4. I’M MAD 4:15
Conrad Publ. Co.
5. HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN 4:29
Al Gallico Music
1. WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE 3:17
Screen Gems-Columbia Music
2. BOOM BOOM 2:57
Conrad Publ. Co.
3. I’M IN LOVE AGAIN 2:59
4. ROBERTA 2:04
Ace Publ. Co.
5. I’M CRYING 2:30
Al Gallico Music
6. DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD 2:26
Conrad Publ. Co.
All compositions BMI
Produced by MICKIE MOST
Manufactured by Reverse Producers Corp.
Director of Engineering: Val Valentin
Cover Photo by: Ken Whitmore
Cover Design by: Acy R. Lehman
The Animals Official Fan Club Ltd.
200 West 57 Street
New York 19, N.Y.
If a writer can be allowed the privilege of being nutty about any one group, then I shall take advantage of the situation, and reveal that I’m an ardent fan of the Animals. I’m crazy about the Animals – as people, as performers, as musicians, and as individuals who stick closely to their beliefs.
My association with the Animals started long before “House Of The Rising Sun,” but sometime after they changed their name from the Alan Price Combo, and decided to try for gold among the cellar clubs of the murky, fascinating streets in Soho, London. Of course, Alan Price has now left the group on doctor’s orders, as his health couldn’t hold up to the wild pace, and been replaced by Dave Rowberry.
In the early days, the Animals were rough, earthy and gutsy. They still are. Then, and now, they desired and asked nothing more than to be given a permanent home for their music. It didn’t matter where, as long as it could be in a place where they could be understood and appreciated. They had a burning ambition to create a change in the British music scene – Animal fashion – and without having to compromise on one of their well tuned notes. They weren’t going to give in to certain trends, not the Animals. They had too much to say, and come hell or high water, they were going to express it to anyone that would listen.
When I first saw the group at the Scene Club in London at the beginning of 1964, I almost recoiled in horror! They sounded fine, and I dug what they were doing, but they looked like they’d been dragged through the mud and into the mire. Until they came on the scene, the Rolling Stones had been given the distinction of being the chief target of criticism, but now the older generation really had something to holler about. It didn’t matter how good they sounded, or how seriously they took their music, or themselves. “They” (our parents), screamed they didn’t know what the world was coming to, and that people who looked like this shouldn’t be allowed in public places!
When recently in England, I saw the Animals on “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” on one of the top television shows in the country. It’s now two years since Britain first allowed them to break through – twenty-four months in which our parents have been able to accept them. Anyway, every so often, during their performance, I turned to look at my mother’s face. My mother, who follows the pattern of most mothers, is now an avid fan of The Beatles (“they’re clean”). Anyone since then, she fails to comprehend – or maybe just turns a blind eye. The Animals are grouped into this category, which means that most parents still refuse to recognize such great music because of the way they look.
But in our language, the Animals are outa sight. They’re intense devoted people. Maybe their music is now on top of the world, and they’ve gotten what they wanted, but still they’re not satisfied. The Animals are still searching, reaching for hidden depths, still restless. They’ll pace the room while they’re talking and let their minds wander off. It’s like Eric Burdon is saying, “What’s happening? Where’s it at? Do they really care about us, or are they just accepting us because we’ve had a few hit records…?”
Just recently, when the Animals formed a big band to play at an annual British jazz festival, the British press accused them of being too far out. Eric replied, “As long as we make records that jump and move, there’s no problem at all. I think the sound we’re getting is as far as we can go. But we still have a beat and basic blues feel.”
I once asked Eric if he would term the Animals as having “an English kind of soul.” He wasn’t too happy about the tag, and said he would prefer their music to be known as “Animal kind of soul.” If not the rest of the group, who are equally as enthusiastic about their music, Eric Burdon’s entire life is wrapped up in his career.
I once went on a material search with the Animals. We went to record stores, mostly, and once to the New York Library. We went through racks of old albums. They spent a fortune, and wound up buying an extra suitcase to lug the LPs back to England.
You don’t go on shopping sprees for anything but music when the Animals are in town. You know you’re in for a musical education if you venture outside the hotel with them. They have a complete awareness of the scene, but only gravitate towards those they like and appreciate.
John Steel is the biggest jazz fan in the group. On their last tour, he took time to visit various New York jazz clubs, and saw Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, Herbie Hancock and Charlie Mingus. He’s nuts about Mingus.
“I went alone to all these places,” he said. “I like to listen on my own and soak it all up. Later on, I met the rest of the group at the Café Metropole. They were there to watch Maynard Ferguson and Red Allen.”
You’ll never find the Animals on the night club or discotheque circuit. The regular kind of night life means nothing to them. And don’t forget about the way they dress! That’s according to the mood of the moment.
On the morning the Animals left for England, I met Eric Burdon at Kennedy International. The rest of the group had already left, but he had a three hour stopover before catching his plane. He was dressed in suede from head to foot. He likes suede, also denim. He used to like leather, but then everyone started wearing it.
Such has been the Animal’s success, and the way they choose to do things, that they’ve rejected several movie offers as not being in their own groove, and instead, were planning to produce and film their own movie during a Polish tour. The film, they said, would be something along the lines of John Cassavetes’ “Shadows,” an experiment in the avant garde, which had a splintering impact on the public, and paid off handsome dividends.
If the movie turns out to be anything like their music, it could border on being brilliant and highly individual. No doubt they will write their own score.
Much of their own styling is evident on this album, which illustrates the infinite best in the Animals, with such tracks as It’s My Life, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, and Gonna Send You Back To Walker, which marked their first record release in England.
There is no bad side to the Animals, and if they wanted to record their own interpretation of “Scheherazade,” it would still sound great…and probably be a best seller…
– JUNE HARRIS
This record has been engineered and manufactured in accordance with standards developed by the Recording Industry Association of America, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the betterment of recorded music and literature.
® © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. Printed in U.S.A.